Entering my final quarter of my first year at Northwestern, I basically had my spiel down about how much I loved the school. I could honestly say that I could see how passionate people were, how supportive my friend group was, and how Greek Life gave me a chance to give back through philanthropy. However, a lot was still uncertain. I wanted to feel closer with some of my new friends and I felt that I had spent so much mental energy learning in the classroom that I hadn’t taken much time to learn about myself.

So when Relay for Life sign ups happened and my sorority started a team to attend, I saw an opportunity. Twelve hours on the Lakefill raising money for the American Cancer Society sounded like the chance I had been looking for to bond with my sisters, and most importantly to make a difference.

When the day arrived, I was skeptical about spending all night outside, but my fears were quickly shattered every time I saw one of my Relay teammates and they, with a huge smile, asked if I was ready for the night. The first few hours of the event were marked with speeches from cancer survivors and those who had personal stories to share. It was a time I thought a lot about how cancer touches everyone’s lives in some way. It was also an opportunity to think about how much those around me had gone through, and to remember that this kind of compassion was something I valued deeply.

As twelve hours drew on, various performance groups came to boost our energy. Seeing all of those campus organizations show up even for just a little reminded me of what an amazing community I was a part of. I got to let go of worries about class and spend time walking around the track sharing stories with the other girls in my sorority. I once again felt that sense of gratitude for being surrounded by such inspiring and fun people.

After a night full of constant dancing, walking, and soccer playing with my friends, a bright purple sunrise came with the announcement that we had raised 95,000 dollars towards cancer research. With the success of the event and the beauty of the morning, I immediately knew that it had become one of my favorite memories at Northwestern.

–Teresa De Pinto

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